The Chancellor's stunt last night -- and it was certainly a stunt -- has assured another day of picketing, another day of missed classes, when there could so easily not have been one. The Administration has made a "final" offer that "addresses" all of the faculty concerns (much in the same way a bully's taunt "stop hitting yourself" addresses violence). After putting this offer on the table, the BOT team went home and the Chancellor used a press conference to announce that the Administration was done for the night.
All that is clear in that "final" proposal is that we are close enough that a continued commitment to bargaining could have ended this thing in the late night or early morning hours. But the Administration would rather see the strike go on, would rather see students hoping to graduate soon face unqualified or no instructors in their upper level classes.
Yesterday was the first day of classes since the Adinistration's census last week. This was the day the Chancellor had to begin to deliver on her promise to provide "qualified substitute instructors" in those classes. In some few cases, she may have delivered on this promise. But in far too many cases, the substitutes were not present, were unable to do anything more than take attendance and hold the space, or just read from the texbook. We are starting to hear these stories on the picket line from very frustrated students. We are seeing them reported in the press. Students are encouraged to share their experiences of the Chancellor's version of "business as usual" on the newly re-opened SIUC Facebook page...or even here.
But maybe they already have made their presence known. At the same time the Administration was devising its latest tactics in misdirection and abuse of process, hundreds of students formed a very large, very vocal crowd of supporters for the faculty on strike. They marched from Anthony Hall to several of the picket locations then back to the Student Center and finally fully surrounded Anthony Hall. Their support for their faculty was truly inspiring.
So, on a day when we might actually have gotten back to real "business as usual" the Administration has chosen to drag the process out, endure the likely continued growth of the student protest, avoid the accumulation of further evidence of their failure to provide qualified instruction in classes, and face the firm resolve of the Faculty on strike. Further evidence of their skewed priorities and short-sightedness.
The FA critics will enjoy something like free-rein on this site again today as most of the FA are either back at the bargaining table or back on the picket line. These critics' chides, critiques, venom and "advice" are welcome -- we all need an outlet, after all. Mine, today, is on the picket line where we are making a difference and will continue to do so.